Australia Book Berth in Tri-Series Final

June 22 16:55 2016

ausNew Delhi, Wednesday, June 22 –  It was a last chance of Australia to emerge victorious and get some useful points in pocket that could help them stay at the top of the points table and boost the chance of getting into the finals.

The Aussies were playing in a must-win match against West Indies on Tuesday, June 21 at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown in Barbados. And they ended up winning it by six wickets, making the match between South Africa and West Indies be another must-win encounter, which is slated to take place on Friday in the same ground.

The team that wins the match will meet Australia in the Grand Finale, which is to be held on Sunday. Being the host, winning has turned so important for West Indies that they will now need to pour more than hundred per cent efforts to outshine Proteas after missing the opportunity against Australia, who rose strong in the game held a day ago.

West Indies Playing XI, which included Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin, Kieron Pollard, Jason Holder – the captain, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Sulieman Benn and Shannon Gabriel, put a good total of 282 runs for the loss of eight wickets after Australia won the toss and invited them to bat first. Australia squad was captained by Steven Smith and Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Scott Boland were the teammates. The players on bench from West Indies side had Jonathan Carter and Ashley Nurse, while Nathan Coulter-Nile, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa were in extras from Australia. When the match started, it was clear in the minds of players that losing is not an option.

Getting big partnerships were the need of time and what can be better to see it work despite the fact that this did not come early since the opening batsman Johnson Charles was dismissed by Starc  on a naught in the first over of the match. Another jolt was received early as well given that Darren Bravo succumbed to Hazlewood when he was able to hit the shots. His 15 runs off 20 balls comprised three boundaries. Andre Fletcher, the opener, did not read exact mood of the delivery bowled by Starc and that resulted into another wicket when the catch was caught by Mitchell Marsh. His knock of 9 runs came in 22 deliveries, inclusive of a boundary.

But a halt to the pace of falling wickets was observed when Marlon Samuels and the wicket keeper batsman Denesh Ramdin arrived on the crease, being clear of the thought to give Australia a taste of their own medicine. The two middle-order batsmen ensured to hit the ball with confidence, giving no room further to Australia get a grip in the game. Ramdin hit six 4s and three biggies, letting Australia do a lot of running on the ground. Starc  earned his wicket when the batsman was 9 runs away from pocketing a ton. Expectations were high from Kieron Pollard as well after a six and four was struck him in particular. But Boland got wicket of Pollard when 20 runs were attained in 18 deliveries. Samuels, on the other hand, continued his brilliant show and scored 125 runs off 134 balls, together with 14 4s and a couple of sixes.

Some momentum was needed to put by the tail-ender batsmen, who did not succeed to stay on the 22 yards pitch for long. Carlos Brathwaite struck a four but Boland dismissed him when he reached at a score of 7. Jason Holder couldn’t play a captain’s knock after throwing his catch to Mitchell Marsh when Faulkner was called to bowl another over. Samuels was the last man to get departed on the final delivery of the West Indies’ innings in an attempt to get another run for the team by hitting a shot. Marsh did not make any mistake in taking the catch, letting Faulkner pocket another wicket. Sunil Narine was not out at 1 run. The boundaries by West Indies players lowered confidence of the Australian bowlers to a certain extent that they missed bowling in accurate line and length. This gets proved by 13 extras given by the travellers.

The satisfying innings of Ramdin and Samuels made West Indies look better in view of the fact that the team put a total of 282 runs on the scoreboard after 50 overs for the loss of eight wickets. Starc was the leading wicket taker, sending three batsmen back to the dressing room. Josh Hazlewood got a wicket, while James Faulkner and Scott Boland had their hands in two dismissals each. Mitchell Marsh, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell did not get any wicket, it was a tad surprising to note that Smith tried seven bowling options to get wickets especially to break Ramdin and Samuels partnership. But as a team, Australia were to look forward to get a victory, which was a ticket to finale.

Start for Australia while batting wasn’t good enough too since Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch were dismissed at the scores of 17 (4 x 1) and  16 (4 x 3) by  Shannon Gabriel and Brathwaite, respectively. But young captain Steven Smith made sure to do his bit and stabilize wobbly innings of his team and not letting West Indies players get happy with another wicket. George Bailey gave him much support by playing a knock of 34 runs off 46 deliveries, inclusive of 5 boundaries. Benn brought this partnership, which was getting bigger, to an end when Aussies accumulated 99 runs. Smith was run out thanks to quick response timing of DM Bravo and S Benn. 78 runs were scored by him facing 107 balls, together with five boundaries.

Nonetheless, it was the last moment for West Indies to jump in joy since Mitchell Marsh, who was  not out at 79 runs off 85 balls, along with six fours, and Glenn Maxwell, who was not out at 46 runs off just 26 balls (4 x 5 and 6 x 2) led Australia to victory. If truth be told then the way Maxwell played in the death overs lent a hand to Aussies attain the target in 48.4 overs. Wade, Faulkner, Starc, Hazlewood and Boland did not have to bat since the job to win was already done by the middle-order players. 60 runs were scored by the guest during mandatory powerplay;  24 runs extra as compared to West Indies. Samuel was declared ‘Man of the Match’. The defeat was a real let down for the host, who have to have win the contest against South Africa, who have been in good form in the ongoing series.

If truth be told the West Indies fought back with sheer strength post losing three wickets. At a certain stage it seemed as if the partnership between Samuels and Ramdin will take the game away from Australia, but the way they pulled things back deserved words of praise. There is nothing like a perfect game and Aussies bowling wasn’t the best as well. Despite knowing the fact that it would be a tough chase, a few partnerships went good, giving them a chance to book a berth in the last match, from where winning the winner’s trophy is just a step away. Credit goes to Mitchell Marsh and Maxwell who were outstanding to play their trademark shots. The curtains will be taken off from the fact that who will play in the final against Australia on June 26. Both South African and West Indies teams are looking forward to the next match, which has turned decisive. It is going to catch the focus as the action is likely to be of first-class.

 

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